BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia Tech jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, defeating No. 29 VMI 11-3 in non-conference baseball action Tuesday evening at English Field. The win improves the Hokies to 17-9 on the year, while the Keydets fall to 20-5 with the loss.
Ten different Hokies accounted for the team's 12 hits on the night, as Tech scored multiple runs in each of the first three innings, going on top 7-1. That was more than enough cushion for Tech starter Manny Martir (2-1), who scored his second win in as many starts over a Big South opponent. Martir allowed three runs, one earned, in six innings, scattering five hits while striking out 10 a week after shutting out Liberty for seven innings, scattering four hits.
Keydet starter Coby Cowgill (3-1) took the loss, allowing seven runs, six earned, on eight hits in two-plus innings of work. Four Keydet pitchers saw action in the contest, led by Chris Duty, who worked three scoreless innings, allowing just one base runner.
Tanner Biagini was the lone Keydet with multiple hits on the night, going 3 for 4 with an RBI. George Piccirilli accounted for VMI's lone extra-base knock of the game, a fifth-inning double down the left-field line. Sean Ryan, meanwhile, led the way by going 3 for 5 with one of five Hokie doubles in the contest. Steve Domecus, Buddy Sosnoskie and Anthony Sosnoskie each drove home a pair for Tech, who won its third straight in the series.
The Keydets took a 1-0 lead in the first, as Sam Roberts scored an unearned run on Graham Sullivan's sacrifice fly. The Hokies responded by sending eight men to the plate in the bottom of inning, plating two runs on just a single hit. Ryan reached on an infield single, while Cowgill loaded the bases with a walk and a hit batsman. Buddy Sosnoskie tied the game when his bouncer back to the mound went off of Cowgill's glove, while Anthony Sosnoskie's fielder's choice pushed Tech in front, 2-1.
The Hokies mounted a three-run rally in the second, with all the action coming with two outs. Conscutive doubles by Ryan and Ronnie Shaban scored the first run, while a single from Austin Wates and a Buddy Sosnoskie triple plated two more runs. Tech pushed the lead to 7-1 with a two-run third inning, when the 7-8-9 hitters in the Hokie order, Michael Seaborn, Matt Blow and Tony Balisteri, posted consecutive doubles. That rally forced Cowgill from the game, as Duty came on to retire nine of the 10 batters that he faced.
VMI cut the lead to 7-2 in the fifth when Piccirilli doubled and scampered home on a two-out wild pitch. The Keydets made it a four-run contest in the sixth, scoring another unearned run when Jordan Ballard reached on a error in left field and scored on Tanner Biagini's RBI single.
A three-run rally in the seventh gave the Hokies a 10-3 advantage. Alan Watts, who worked a scoreless sixth, hit the first two batters of the seventh, then was lifted after recording a strikeout. Reliever Jeremy Brown was greeted with a fielder's choice that loaded the bases, while Steve Domecus plated two with his single through the right-side. A double steal made it a 10-3 contest, while the Hokies pushed another across in the eighth to account for the final margin.
VMI opens a Big South series on the road Friday, taking on UNC Asheville at 3 p.m. The Keydets wrap up the series with a doubleheader on Saturday that will be broadcast on the VMI Sports Network, as fans can listen to the game at www.VMIKeydets.com, and on the Big South Network, as fans can watch the game at www.BigSouthSports.com.